Friday, 24 April 2015

Combiner Wars Off Road & First Aid review

Off Road

Off Road is the Cuckoo in the next for the Combiner Wars Stunticons replacing the original team's Wildrider, a dark grey car with red windows.

Off Road comes in robot mode. To convert him into his pickup truck start by opening the front of the lower legs and recessing the upper legs into them using the CW Aerialbot style leg joint. Close the legs up, bring them together and fit the top of the rear of the legs into a recess in the back of the body. Straighten the arms, tabbing the door on the upper arm into the top of the lower arm and fold down under the shoulders to form the vehicle doors and top of the flatbed's sides. Fold the Bonnet down and slot the tabs into place.

Off Road's vehicle mode is a pick up truck, a new vehicle mode for the Stunticons. When Off Road was revealed he had a similar colour scheme to Wildrider in black and red but the released version turned this into grey and red. I'm not sure which is closer the original, which is somewhere between the two, and the reason for the change is not immediately obvious. He's got flame details on his sides, a 5mm peg hole on his rear, another 5mm socket above each wheel arch and a 5mm socket on each side of the flatbed. The original black version of the toy has another 5mm socket in the middle of the flatbed, hinting at a possible future use, but the release version has replaced this with a tab. The tab fits a slot on the fingers of his hand which are on the underside of his vehicle mode weapon which allows it to be mounted on the back of the flatbed as what could possibly be an engine block. It's precise purpose may become obvious with future repaints as his fellow Stunticon Breakdown also had an engine mounting for his weapon which strongly hints as to what this repaint is. The peg on the weapons mode allows it to be mounted on any of the existing 5mm holes which can also be used to store his hand weapon, an axe.

To return to vehicle mode start by removing the weapons. Fold the bonnet on top of the windscreen: there's slots in the side of the windscreen which the backs of the wheel arches recess into. Pull the doors of the car out and up to form the arms, pulling the door panels up slightly to allow the arms to bend Open the undercarriage at the rear of the card to unfold the legs.

The robot mode is mainly the same grey as the vehicle but he's got turquoise upper limbs. This would be OK but they clash horribly with the purple of the weapons and the neon green used for the face. Throw in some red detailing and there's definitely at least one colour too many going on here! The face colour NEEDS to go! His hand weapon is an Axe with a 5mm shaft that he can hold and a 5mm peg in the side

Articulation: Ball jointed head and shoulders. In theory the shoulders can swing up at the body in practice the joint is very stiff. The arms have a bicep swivel and bend at the elbow. His waist turns, he has ball jointed hips, a thigh swivel and bending knee. The hands are 5mm peg holes, the other end of a through pipe from the holes that were on top of the flat bed, with the holes on the side of the car ending up on the outside of his forearms. The doors are attached to his shoulders and can be posed running down the length of the upper arms, diagonally out to the sides or horizontally out the side of the shoulder albeit with a loss of shoulder articulation.

Off Road also forms a Combiner Wars limb:

Arm Mode: Fold the combiner peg out, and the robot head in. Fold the lower arms back at the elbows till they're pointing out the back of the toy at 90 degrees to the body. Peg them onto his windscreens. Lock the legs together, convert the weapon into a hand and plug into the hole between the feet.

Um, yeah. Top of the arm looks a bit of a mess. To be honest I had to hunt his instructions down for this bit because when I looked on the net almost all the pictures of Menasor had Off Road in leg mode and the few arm picture that were there weren't really sure what was happening with the arms! The robot waist becomes a bicep swivel while the legs give it a double elbow and the peg for the hand wrist rotation. The hand has the peg hole between thumb and fingers to enable the arm to hold 5mm weapon. The car arms don't work so well for me as the Aerialbot arms because to have the elbow bending you need the wide underside of the car facing towards you on the lower arms which look a tad too wide.

Leg Mode: from the vehicle mode fold the bonnet back onto the windscreen. Open the rear undercarriage/leg fronts, fold the combiner peg out, and the robot head in, then close the undercarriage. Place his weapon into the peg hole on the rear of the vehicle as the combine robot foot. The connector form the thigh swivel and bending knee for the combined robot while the ankle turns from side to side. It's a good solid leg, like most of the combiner wars legs which is what you want: a component that won't collapse holding the robot up.

Mould? Pretty solid toy. Deco? For a toy that's mainly grey all the rest of the parts are far too busy with too many colours, especially in robot mode.

First Aid

When a website put up a |somewhat premature pre-order for First Aid many fans were worried to read that First Aid "Includes axe" and "has robot and combat vehicle modes", because that seemed to imply he was merely Off Road redecoed and not looking anything like what First Aid should. Of all the Protectobots First aid probably has the biggest fan following thanks mainly to appearances in the fan favourite More Than Meets The Eye comic. So expectations here were somewhat larger than for the other Protectobots. Fortunately when he was revealed at toyfair 2015 he turned out to be a pretty massive retool of Off Road!

Again he come in robot mode. Transformation to vehicle mode is nearly identical: the top of the leg back now have a tab that fits into the robot back and the arms now fit into a gap in the sides of the vehicle rather than forming the tops of the flatbed.

First Aid's ambulance mode is something of a departure looking more like an armoured vehicle than the simple traditional ambulance shape. He's a little like various vehicle versions of Movie Ratchet in this respect. A vaguely similar shape to Off Road ALL the vehicle shell piece have changed. We've just 3 5mm holes now: the one on the rear stays the same but the 5mm holes on the side have moved down and slightly forward to be in front of the rear wheel rims. My eyes lit up when I saw the bars on the roof rear but sadly they're too small for the 3mm c-clips used a few years ago and this makes me sad. The tab that did sit on off Road's flatbed is now on the roof allowing the vehicle weapon to be mounted there as First Aid's Dual-Barrelled Decrystallizer Cannon.

Transformation to robot is almost exactly the same as Off Road's but the bonnet latches onto the windscreen in a different way.

The robot mode is, like Streetwise is to Dead End, a complete resculpt. The window like panels on his chest and his distinctive cube like head, sculpted very similar to his comic appearance, make you think First Aid straight away. Job done nicely. Articulation is the same as Off Road but the 5mm holes on the side of Off Road's forearms have migrated to the sides of his knees which is a more convenient point for storing weapons when not in use.

First Aid still becomes a Combiner Wars limb:

Leg Mode: identical to Off Road, albeit with a bit more bulk at the bottom.

Arm Mode: similar to Off Road, but a slot in the lower arm now locks onto a tab sticking out the side of the roof.

In both cases articulation is the same.

If you're looking for a First Aid for your Generations Lost light crew then this toy is well up to the job. Decent combiner component too, better arm than Off Road.

Future repaints

The most obvious repaint for Off Road would be Swindle and this might be where that peg hole on the original Off Road's flatbed comes into play. A Combiner Wars Swindle was found in compute listings in April 2015.

In early 2015 a rumour emerged that both Prowl & Ironhide would feature in Combiner Wars. When Off Road was released his comic featured a version with Ironhide's head. Meanwhile First Aid's comic shows a version of his toy with a Prowl like head which ties in with his appearance in a recent issue of the comic formerly known as RID.

The same story that revealed Swindle also listed a Trailbreaker which could be made from this mould. Which version depends on if you want a pickup or something approximating his camper element. If you do Trailbreaker from this mould then Hoist is an obvious choice but would need something put onto Off Road's flatbed to approximate his towing gear.

Finally if you're trying to do the original 18 Diaclone Autobots in Combiner Wars then recolouring the Swindle version of the toy as Hound is a possibility.

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